Overview of trans fatty acids: biochemistry and health effects

Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2011 Jul-Sep;5(3):161-4. doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2012.03.002. Epub 2012 May 1.


Trans fatty acids (TFA) are unsaturated fatty acids that contain at least one non-conjugated double bond in the trans configuration, resulting in a straighter shape. TFA present in our diet can either be industrially produced and ruminant or natural. The major process contributing to formation of industrial TFA is hydrogenation of vegetable oils. Thermal processes such as edible oil refining and frying also lead to the formation of TFA while, ruminant/natural TFA is formed in the rumen of ruminant animals through bio-hydrogenation. Industrial TFA poses severe effects on our health like cardiovascular problems, insulin resistance, infertility in women, compromised fetal development and cognitive decline. There are strict regulations for limiting/removing the TFA content from food supply across the world. However in India, there is scarcity of data on TFA content in foods and their consumption levels. Given the alarmingly rising trend of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in India, removal of TFA from the food supply along with generating awareness among the masses in this regard is of immense importance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology*
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Food Analysis
  • Food Contamination
  • Food Handling* / methods
  • Food Supply
  • Humans
  • Hydrogenation
  • India
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Trans Fatty Acids / adverse effects*


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Trans Fatty Acids